Counter-Epistemologies of the Global South: Indian Floor Drawings Re-envisaged

Dohmen, Renate (2019). Counter-Epistemologies of the Global South: Indian Floor Drawings Re-envisaged. South Asian Popular Culture, 16(2-3) pp. 235–244.



The essay proposes that the female, pan-Indian tradition of drawing threshold designs offers the potential of articulating a counter-epistemology of the South that differences prevalent approaches to the post-colonial and the global in the visual field. Based on its Tamil variant, the multiple marginalization of this vernacular practice is argued as indicative of larger issues and the fact that none of the prevalent methodological frameworks for discussing the visual cater for its aesthetic registers. On the basis of this acknowledgment, the practice’s very ‘strangeness’ is re-framed as a gift for radical aesthetic enquiry. The discussion draws on the Boaventura de Sousa Santos,’ notion of the post-abyssal, Parul Dave Mukherji’s critique of of existing approaches to global art history and her call for a differenced meta-theory, Ashis Nandy’s reframing of notions of ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ as well as Deleuze and Guattari connective notions of subjectivity and post-human aesthetics.

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